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Good News - March 2020

Where Does Your Hope Lie?

This week, we had a meeting of church leaders here at our very own Woodlane. In my small group, we had a few people currently studying to be preaching elders (church elders who have enough education to preach a solid Sunday morning message). The discussion reminded us pastors of our seminary experiences, particularly our Old Testament classes. Allow me to give you a peephole into that life.

At the seminary level, some classes (particularly Old Testament) are notorious for putting students off balance. Everything they learned since nursery Sunday school gets rocked and you start off this insane journey of faith not knowing which way is up.

Such classes, and our small group discussion, point to a critical question for Christians and non-Christians alike – can we experience life-giving faith when we can’t explain everything written in this text we call the Bible? For Christians, I hope the enormity of the question is clear. For non-Christians, exploring this question keeps us in the discussion one step further, rather than “Well, nobody can explain the exodus flood to me, so I’m done looking at Christianity.”

It’s been said when we wrestle with these kinds of questions, we – like Jacob – should be walking away with a limp. I wrestled with some of this over sabbatical, and I’ve still got a long road of physical therapy ahead to work out this limp (metaphorically speaking…I still run mountains just fine!)

As an apologetics geek…one who looks for ways to explain any controversy about the Bible…this is an image that helped me out. (editor’s note-this analogy can come across like I’m beating up Scripture – not my intent. Hear my analogy as just that – an analogy).

Let’s say somebody typo’ed your birth certificate. They put your father’s name on the mother line and visa versa. Does that mean you don’t exist? Let’s say your marriage license is destroyed in a fire. Does that make you a bachelor or bachelorette again? Both questions, one answer, two words – absolutely not.

Here’s the fact – while Christians hold the Bible in high regard, there are parts we can’t easily explain. But our faith lies not in text on a page, but in the person of Jesus Christ – 100% historically verifiable even by sources that were critical of Christianity.

I know this is getting deep but let me demonstrate this idea by showing you the flip side, which gave me a LOT of peace as an apologetics geek. Let’s say I sit down with a skeptic. Could I answer every single one of their questions about the Bible and they still walk away unsaved? Absolutely. If they don’t trust Jesus for forgiveness, all their new-found “faith” in the text of the Bible does them zero good.

I say this to help stabilize your faith. In a culture growing increasingly more post-Christian (and apparently Rochester is leading the charge!), our one faith text is being questioned more and more. The good news is none of that dents the fact that Jesus gave up His life so that we could have life.

Otherwise, you better keep your birth certificate safe!

Many Blessings,

Pastor Brian

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This four-week series is designed to help you gain vision for the coming year. However, this isn’t a church vision statement but, rather, a vision for spiritual growth. Make 2020 a year when you are focused on Jesus, making him the center of your life. This series will look at key passages in both the Old and New Testament and explore some ways we can place Jesus at the center of our everyday living.
Carols We begin the season of anticipation – waiting for Jesus’ birth at Christmas.  In that time, we often hear Christmas carols throughout the day,  whether on the radio, in the store, or at church. These songs, when we think about them, can offer us something real to get thru the stress that often comes with the Christmas season.

Family-ish As the holiday season gets closer, many of us think of family. Maybe we look forward to a big get-together, maybe we dread the idea. God’s Word has some powerful ideas that can help us not only survive getting together with family, but making it a time of joy.

The Race Is On The church didn't begin until after Jesus left His disciples. That was a scary prospect for them. How would they do it? Would God help them out? Beginning with Pentecost Sunday - the day the disciples got their "Christian superpowers", we explore how we can do those things that seem too far beyond us.

Didn't See It Coming Based on Carey Nieuwhof's book of the same title, this series wants to help you avoid and overcome life's seven hardest and most crippling challenges: cynicism, compromise, disconnectedness, irrelevance, pride, burnout, and emptiness. These are challenges that few of us expect but that we all experience at some point. If you have yet to confront these obstacles, this series provides clear tools and guidelines for anticipation and avoidance. On the other hand, if you already feel stuck in a painful experience or are wrestling with one of these challenges, it provides the steps you need to find a way out and a way forward into a more powerful and vibrant future.

Intersections It would be nice to have one-on-one time with Jesus while He was ministering on earth. This Lent season, we will check out some of those times in the Gospels when Jesus gave people that occasion.


RCA - our denominational site
GotQuestions - great apologetics site

Bible Gateway - online Bibles
Blue Letter Bible - online Bibles + commentaries
Bible Hub - online Bibles + commentaries

OnePlace - audio sermons

Logos - Pastor Brian's choice of Bible software
e-sword - free Bible software



Good News Archive
Good News - March 2020
Good News - February 2020
Good News - January 2020
Good News - December 2019
Good News - November 2019
Good News - October 2019
Good News - September 2019
Good News - August 2019
Good News - July 2019
Good News - June 2019
Good News - May 2019
Good News - April 2019

5694 Woodlane Newark NY 14513              Phone: (315) 331-4903              E-mail: office@woodlanechurch.org